Olive Bar & Kitchen, the Olive Group’s flagship restaurant in Bandra has announced a collaboration with The Pontiac, a craft cocktail dive bar in Hong Kong, focused on inclusivity. On Asia’s 50 Best Bars list since the inception of the awards in 2016, The Pontiac is known for its well curated cocktail list featuring only nine highly unique, signature drinks.Tink Aira Chan and Arlene Wong will get Mumbai in party mode, with six of their best-selling cocktails. We chatted with Beckaly Franks, Owner, The Pontiac to know more about the exciting collaboration.
What was the starting point of the collaboration?
The start of the collaboration was when Mitali Kumar from Olive Bar & Kitchen reached out to my partner Harsh Roopchand about doing a full bar takeover. It has been a few months in the works and we felt coming over to India would be the perfect way to celebrate and kick off our 4th year!
Tell us a bit about it?
The Pontiac will be doing a full fit out of the back bar area on Olive. Creating our signature fun and gaudy aesthetic with feather boas, a collage wall, neon signs and more! We will be serving 6 of our most popular Ponty cocktails for 2 full nights from roughly 9pm-1am.
Tell us about the cocktails on offer?
This particular take over is about showing Mumbai who we are and how we hold it down in Hong Kong. We chose to bring over some of our most popular cocktails to really show Mumbai our style. The Hobnail – a rye whiskey base mixed with house-made ginger syrup, lemon juice, Averna and Angora bitters. “Since we are a small venue with limited space (in HK) and no kitchen we try to focus mostly on terroir and backbar, using flavours that are already happening inside the bottle instead of what we can do to change them. Our Dope Slap is a great representation of that, with Pisco, Giffard banana liqueur, Laphroaig, lemon juice, lemon oil, and Regan’s Orange Bitters. Other cocktails on offer include My Name is Nobody, a spicy hot-take on the classic Negroni, the sweet & tart rum-based Snake Sour, a neon-blue gin & absinthe concoction called Heisenberg, and the Rainbow Maker with a shot of Jameson and Budweiser, infused overnight with pickle
Among the cocktails curated, which one is your best seller?
The HOBNAIL is our best seller because it is actually perfectly balanced. It is approachable for any palate other than people who sincerely don’t like ginger. Thankfully almost everyone loves ginger! The HOBNAIL’S name is a play on the classic “Rusty Nail” which is Scotch whisky and Drambuie based. Originally the HOBNAIL was made with blended Scotch (it is equally delicious with blended scotch or rye whiskey) so the regional association to the cocktail makes sense. An actual hobnail is a nail placed in the bottom of a boot to aid in traction. These boots became popular in Scotland and eventually found their way into Steampunk fashion. So for us it a nod to cocktail history and an alternative attitude.
How do you plan to transform the look and feel of the bar?
The Pontiac décor shows the organic evolution of a bar well lived in. We often refer to ourselves as a black disco ball. This means that we are dark and rugged like a proper dive bar with all the color and magical facets that reflect off a disco ball. Neon lighting is part of our aesthetic with our huge signature sign that hangs outside our front doors as well as our “show me your tips” neon inside. “Show me your tips” is our playful way to encourage the guest to leave gratuity. The feather boas and pride flag are from our annual party, Red, White & Rainbow: a celebration of equal rights and independence. We have found that the passersby love taking photos of and with our rainbow flag, which we in turn take great PRIDE in. Acceptance is one of the many things we advocate and strive for.
What is the philosophy behind this and your visions from this collaboration?
Our philosophy behind this takeover is to engage in a greater community. We want to not only introduce ourselves to Mumbai, we want to learn about and support the hospitality culture in India as well. The market in Mumbai is evolving rapidly and we aim to be part of that in any way we can. All ships rise with the tide! We envision this to be the first of many collaborations and friendships built.